December 15, 2020– A few weeks back we posted a writing prompt of a little girl in the snow with a pair of skates draped over her shoulder. We asked our readers to submit their work for the chance to be featured on our blog. Check out K.G. Watson’s story, Girl in the Red Coat below:
“Hey! Girl in the red coat.” The call rang across the snow. She’d been spotted. She walked on pretending not to hear. Another call. “Please don’t go. We need another player.” She turned to see who, in the group, had called. It sounded like another girl but everyone was in hockey gear, skating circles and passing a puck on the newly-frozen pond. The caller was short, like herself. “I see your skates and you were watching us. Can you come and play three-on-three?” The speaker hopped the snowbank and walked up the bank as she spoke. “These are figure skates,” she said as the other girl got close. She nudged them with resignation. “I see that. They’ll do. You were watching us for a while. You are coming from a lesson?” “Yep.” “Can you skate backwards?” “Of course.” The girl in red replied indignantly. Her cold hands holding skate laces under her velvet collar slid into her pockets. Mittens should have been there. They were home, clipped to the hot air register. The hockey girl noticed. “I have a pair of mine inside hockey gloves, and a spare stick and helmet.” She nodded towards bags at the log where the kids had been lacing their skates. “I’ve always wanted to try hockey besides in the driveway when my brother is out. Mom says it’s a boy’s game. And I’m too small. I have to take figure skating.” She watched the others. “Poor skaters,” she decided. “Well … Can you stay?” “Mom dropped me and I took the bus home. I live over there.” She nodded at the mansion on the edge of the park as she checked her phone. “She took my brother to his hockey game. He won’t be home for half an hour.” As they walked down the bank, her hockey hostess explained how she could start easily. “You can play defence. We have no goalie, just two forwards and a defence.” She pointed to the piles of snow that marked off the goalposts. “If you can skate backwards, stay just to the centre side of anyone coming at you. They’ll cut outside along the boards. Just back up, keep in place and angle them into the snow. When they fall, shoot the puck to a forward.” The others turned to welcome her; ponytails and stray ends peaked from under helmets; they were all girls. She appreciated the warmth of the woollen gloves lining the padded hockey ones that were set beside her while she laced up. She hefted the battered hockey stick. “Same as my brother’s,” she decided and glided into position. The other team was bringing the puck up from their end. Her greeter met the attack early but was late with a stab to free the puck. It shot to the other forward who cut inside theirs for the pass and was under-speed as she crossed centre ice, bearing down on the girl in the red dress coat. Red stepped to the attacker’s right leaving an opening on her left. The forward took the bait. But she hadn’t expected the quick response. With a little more speed, she’d get around the guard. A couple fast strides. The girl in red remained, preventing a shot on goal. She made one more spurt and ran out of ice at top speed; the puck slid free and … The girl in red stopped. “Are you OK?” The other girl was struggling up in a cloud of snow. “Never had that happen. Where did you learn that?” “What?” “You really deked me out. I was sure I could get around you. You let me commit and then moved me over like my dad’s dog herds sheep. The next try was unsuccessful too. The attacker stopped short but the girl in red poked the puck free and flipped it over the teammate’s stick to her own forward who sent a long lead pass to their player racing around their defence to score. She was complimented on the lift she put on the puck to get it past the opposition. “You handle a stick well. This isn’t your first time.” “My brother plays,” was all that Red said. As the sky slowly darkened, the girl in red learned stick tricks to block passes or poke checks. The streetlights were on when a van pulled into a parking place. “That’s my Dad. We have to go.” The girl in red looked at her watch,”. “Oh-oh. I’m late.” When she realized she still wore a borrowed helmet it was hard to find her red hat in the snow at the end of the log. “Maybe we can do this again,” the hockey player said. “What’s your name?” Laura,” said the figure skater. “What’s yours?” “Haley,” she said.